Posts tagged Issa Rae
Insecure S3E6 - Sorry To Call You Like This

Episode six of this season’s Insecure, Ready Like, continues to explore the monumental shifts experienced by many during early adulthood. Last week’s episode of Insecure had viewers shook as Lawrence (Jay Ellis), Issa’s (Issa Rae) ex-boyfriend weaseled his way back on the screen.  Just as Issa seemed to be moving on, Lawrence somehow magically appears. Bouncing back from a SUPER LIT weekend at Coachella, the girl gang calms it down and prepares for Tiffany’s (Amanda Seales) baby shower. This episode focuses on many aspects of life changes as adulthood really sets in.  

Beginning where last week’s cliffhanger left off, Issa and Lawrence cross paths at the 7-Eleven and briefly catch up. While Issa has experienced a few hardships, Lawrence has been working hard professionally and at home. Viewers learn that since their breakup, Lawrence put his good looks to use to sleep with just about every woman who crosses his path.

When season one of Insecure kicked off, a portion of viewers questioned the lack of protection all of the intimate black and sexy scenes and it looks like “Lawrence Hive” gets to learn the lesson. A very real result of his casual sex spree: chlamydia. We then see Lawrence go through his phone and call all of his sexual partners and inform them to get tested, an applaudable move for someone who clearly makes questionable decisions.

During these dozens of phone calls, Lawrence even calls a woman who he has not yet slept with. He literally cannot keep up with who he has sex with. The chlamydia seems to be sort of a wake-up call for Lawrence as he realizes “it’s gotta be more to my life than goin’ to work and fuckin.”

Lawrence claims he wouldn’t take Issa back after cheating but he’s frozen when he sees her at the baby shower. Issa breaks the tension or builds it by speaking first. They catch up and he offers to help with her block party business plan because he’s trying to get back in her life.

Run sis.

Just because he has community dick does not mean he can help with Issa’s community event. As the ex-lovers mix and mingle, they look happy. (I hate to admit that they look good together)

Although Issa and Lawrence may look like Blavity Barbie and Ken, Issa’s new man Nathan (Kendrick Sampson) still fits perfectly in her awkward puzzle. While working on planning her block party and launching a business, Issa questions if she is in over her head. Being discouraged from Inglewood desk clerk, the support from Nathan comes immediately. His ability to comfort Issa puts a smile on her face. Laying in bed, the two have a moment where they both say “I really like you” to each other. Initially shocked by hearing those words, Issa realizes she is allowed to vocalize her feelings, a huge step in her love life.  

Everything with Nathan is seemingly going but there is one catch to the mystery man: Issa texts and calls Nathan, often with no response. The fight in the party Lyft from episode one leads to an open investigation through the ride-share company. After calling Issa and leaving a message to get her side of the story, the Lyft associate eventually gets in contact with Nathan, even though Issa has not heard from “her man” in two days.

If communication is lacking with Nathan, Issa can depend on Molly (Yvonne Orji) and Kelli (Natasha Rothwell) to deliver their honest and loving opinions. During their Coachella adventure, Molly left her jacket with Andrew (Alexander Hodge), Nathan’s Asian friend who wants to get to know her more.

Why can’t I be Orthodox black?
— Molly




Molly claims to not want to give Andrew a chance because she wants to marry a Black man, however there are underlying nerves keeping her from trying something new. With encouragement to venture out and date from Issa and Kelli, Molly finally texts Andrew after a tense interaction with Dro (Sarunas Jackson), her married lover, and an internal realization during Tiffany and Derek’s (Wade Allain-Marcus) baby shower.

Team KelliMollyIssaTiffany

This week, I am on the team of all the women, not in regards to their relationships, but the glue holding together their girl gang. Issa and Molly have each other, so Kelli - realizing she’s losing her best friend to a baby - is overwhelmed with emotion at the semi-glam baby shower after Tiffany left her out of the planning process. It would seem that Tiffany would have her best bitches' plan her event but she reveals that none of them stepped up and offered. Tiffany admits she waited till last minute to let Blair (Briana Henry) do it yet Kelli steps up, sharing that she did offer to plan.

Tiffany says she went with Blair as the head of her “crazy crew” shower because she’s a mother and it changes the entire dynamic. Tiffany, the only wife of the group, is soon to be the only mother as well. Watching friends hit life milestones and realizing that relationships change is real AF and it is easy to feel left out and left behind.

We’re always gon’ have life shit!
— Tiffany



Overall, the importance of sisterhood through friendship - made evident in all three seasons of Insecure - shines through in this episode, and while the ladies may be branching out, they’ll hopefully always have common roots. The next episode gets into Molly and Andrew (who I lowkey ship) and hopefully we get the 411 on Nathan.

Insecure S3E3 Backwards Like: Business Casual Casualties

The momentum of HBO’s Insecure starts to pick up in season 3 episode 3, Backwards Like. Issa (Issa Rae), Molly (Yvonne Orji) and even Daniel (Y’lan Noel) seem to have reverted to making bad decisions and only bad decisions which leads fans to wonder “what’s next?”

Issa, fantasizing about receiving oral sex from Daniel (yes the two still platonically sleep in the same bed) while devouring Hot Cheetos remains bound by her determination to move out on her own.  Issa and Daniel’s ups and downs are still results of their bad decisions yet Molly, Issa and Daniel shoot professional shots in the style of Plaxico Burress.

Insecure has always chronicled the entirety of Issa and Molly’s lives, not just the hook-ups and party Lyft fights. The intrapersonal and interpersonal struggles and strides faced in various professional industries by black millenials has been a secondary storyline of the series.

Molly’s struggle with her own self identity as a black woman in a predominantly white industry met with her professional insecurities have finally come to surface. Her new job at an all-Black law firm is seemingly a dream but due to Molly’s own self-sabotage it quickly turns into a nightmare.

They probably got shea butter dispensers in the bathroom and shit
— Molly

Her judgmental vibe of her new office and co-workers is only met with awkward laughter.

Molly’s never had all black co-workers before and as foreshadowed by this (PAINFULLY CORNY) joke, the culture shock hits head on.  Molly’s not so warm welcome to her new firm comes from her own unprofessional attitude. Feeling free from the whiteness of her last law firm, Molly did not realize the privileges were non-transferable. On her first day, Molly makes cringe worthy joke after cringe worthy joke, christened with “at my old firm” as she floats around her new office catching side-eyes from every angle.

Aye what you know about these mandolins, cuz
— Daniel

Daniel’s plight to upgrade from unknown soundcloud beats to platinum plaque producer hits a self-built brick wall. 

Daniel, who took Issa’s advice and reached out to their former classmate Khalil (Aaron Jennings), hoping to have his talents used by Spyder (Roshon Fegan), a rapper on the rise.  When he played the beat, sampling an Icelandic rock group, Khalil gives him some advice and tweaks it to something more Spyder’s speed.

Daniel let’s his ego get in the way, taking Khalil’s edit’s personal and when it’s time to play the track in front of the buzzing rapper, Daniel plays his version, potentially damaging his strongest professional relationship.   

#TeamIssa

We’ve given white people enough time.
— Frieda

Issa’s own professional struggles are also highlighted as We Got Yall’ continues to worsen by the day.  Attending a recruitment fair with other organizations advocating for increased quality of life for underprivileged youth, Issa is met with the opportunity to inquire about a position with a new company who’s flavorful advocacy is more her speed.

Introduced by a live performance featuring children sporting cultural face art, playing instruments and dancing, Issa finds The Beat Crew, a foundation offering musical and artistic support for children in the neighborhood, the recruiter on scene asks her if she’s on a job search. Instead of learning more, Issa says no and her coworker Frieda (Lisa Joyce) rushes her away.  Issa later attends an interview for an apartment manager position which is both part-time and on-call, resulting in her accepting the role, maybe the only semi-good decision of the episode.

Issa is slowly but surely sliding back into my good graces. Not only did she take a new job, that may not be ideal but will help her get back on her own, she stops herself from having sex with Daniel.  The Issa and Daniel situationship was beginning to work as a friendship and although dirty Daniel continues to make sexual advances, Issa is FINALLY becoming clear that it may not be the right thing to do.

Insecure S3E2: The Book Of Daniel

Lara been Croft and Daniel been... well Daniel. From viewer's first introduction to Daniel we see a confident, brash man with the world at his fingertips. As a professional music producer, Issa Dee’s natural ear for music align with his desire to create. Since insert time we are shown a Daniel who commands attention, yet his manhood took a blow. Daniel’s character on Insecure has evolved from the man Issa cheated with to insert yet his demeanor rang mysterious. “Familiar Like” explored the makings of Daniel, exposing the insecurities  beneath his (fine ass) surface.

 

An episode nuanced with references to viral memes and videos, "Familiar Like" took a different approach than we normally see from Insecure. We learn more about the insecurities haunting Daniel’s (Y'lan Noel) ego through social, familial and flirty interactions. Still playing it cool as roommates, Issa and Daniel continue to platonically exist under Daniel’s roof. Exchanging nonchalant text messages, viewers learn that Daniel has spent the past three nights with a social media-absorbed fling and lover of “light skin love”.

Issa, dealing with her own professional and personal struggles, plays keen to Daniel, pretending not to be bothered by his physical and mental absence. Their dedication to not exploring their mutual romantic feelings for each other holds strong. While the two toy with each other's (and their own) emotions, we learn that Daniel is just as awkward and insecure as Issa, and watch how her charisma and his passion balance them out. 

Daniel, invited to a club to check out an artist by his sketchy friend Seven, ultimately changed his mind. Seven, not able to attend anymore, discouraged Daniel, placing his drive on the bench. Issa convinces Daniel to go out by joining him. At the club, we would think that Daniel, a music producer (and we now know a former drug dealer) would have all of the juice yet that cup runs dry. 

Before the two enter the club, there's trouble at the door. Daniel, assuming they would gain entry on Seven's word, was denied, thus beginning his downward spiral. Issa, reconnecting with one of their childhood friends Khalil (Aaron Jennings) at the door ,got them into the club.  Inside, Daniel's solid swagger began to disintegrate. From getting approached by women only to get curved when they learn he is no longer in the weed game, and fumbling through conversation with Spyder, (Roshon Fegan) the artist he attended to see, I thought the episode would end with Daniel crying in the car. 

My pessimistic vision came partially true. After the club is shut down by gun fire, Issa and Daniel go for a late night meal where things get real. We see what makes Daniel and Issa friends beyond sex and physical attraction. Daniel reveals his professional frustrations with being an unknown Soundcloud producer. 

I ain’t trynna hate or nothing, but it’s like I got good and Khalil got famous
— Daniel

His insecurities on the table, Issa not only offers encouragement and sympathy but also solutions. Daniel's vulnerability to Issa shows his true passion for his music and the amount of weight her word means. Every step of the way, Issa had Daniel's back emotionally while he looked out for her physical well being. Issa's advice did not fall on dead ears. Daniel puts his pride on hold and reaches out to Kahlil for professional advice and possible collaboration. Shots rang out at the club, Daniel immediately scooped Issa, complaints about neck pain, he gives her a massage and offers his bed. 

Sharing multiple intimate moments this episode, the two never actually have sex. By the time it is over, viewers are just as confused by their situation as the characters themselves. Having watched Issa and Lawrence's relationship fail, the hope for Issa and Daniel is a slippery slope. In ways, Daniel is everything Issa hated about Lawrence, but now homeless and working two terrible jobs, Issa too shares these personal and professional gripes. As Issa continues to stay on Daniel's couch, will their relationship blossom? 

Elsewhere, episode two continues to explore the dangers of We Got Yall as Issa seems to be near breaking point as the token black women at work. Called on to call-out the companies problematic ways by her non-black co-workers, Issa explains how awkward it is to be expected to perform "angry black woman" on cue. 

Hopefully episode three involves professional growth for Issa, clear and precise communication between Daniel and Issa and of course, more Kelli. 

#TeamKelli

Kelli (Natasha Rothwell) is Issa's "tell it like it is friend" who never holds back. A financial advisor, Issa seeks Kelli's advice and guidance as she continues her search for a place to live.  Kelli, who is not only good at her job but a good friend, advises Issa to halt frivolous spending and ultimately pushes her to ask Daniel to stay longer.  Kelli keeps Issa in necessary check. Her aggressive demeanor is cloaked with kindness and humor, leaving Issa with some serious advice. 

Kelli: Don’t look a gift horse in the dick.
Issa: That’s not a saying.
Kelli: It is. My grandmother said it to me.
Insecure S3E1: Who’s Couch Is It Anyway?

Insecure season three kicked off "Better-Like" in a manner only main character Issa (Issa Rae) and her antics could. By exploring the ups and downs of adulthood, Insecure shares situations that many have been in but few will speak on; the multidimensional, all around flawed nature of characters allows the audience to engage honestly, often times exposing ourselves through the messy lives being played out on screen. The season picks up where season two left off, giving viewers a glimpse of the continuing saga of Issa's love life, along with a deeper look at the toxic nature of white saviors through the exposure of her non-profit gig We Got Y'all, and we're also introduced to the show within a show, KEV-YN - a modern reboot of a 90s sitcom.

The situationships between Issa and Daniel (Y'lan Noel), along with Molly (Y'vonne Orji) and Dro (Sarunas J. Jackson) attempt to stride towards growth by setting boundaries, yet unclear communication paired with controlling, manipulative behavior creates chaos for all four parties. While a common theme seems to be controlling your own narrative and setting boundaries, Issa, Molly, Dro and Daniel all struggle to fully take charge.

Residing on the couch of her former fling Daniel, Issa’s continues to pile up L's. The season opens with Daniel having sex with a brown skin woman presumed to be Issa until it's made aware that our favorite awkward Black girl was only listening from the living room sofa. As the sex gets even louder we learn Issa is now a Lyft driver as she leaves the house to earn money on the side. Her status at We Got Yall has downgraded from in the field to on the phone. While Issa is both romantically and professionally spiraling downward, BFF Molly has everything in order, from the outside looking in.

Getting wined and dined by vacation bae, and multiple men in triple text territory, Molly’s hoetation is unphased. While she seems to enjoy dick on-demand and professional achievements, her mask is removed and the result is not dewy skin. Both Issa and Molly refuse to acknowledge the feelings they harbor for the men in their life.

“I just think we know better” mutters Issa after refusing a kiss from Daniel. An intimate conversation left Issa facing questions from Daniel and no amount of deflection could save her. Confronted with the fact that she could have stayed elsewhere yet found refuge in his living room, Issa retorts to simply stating she needed a place to stay.  Instead of discussing why she felt his space was where she needed to be (beyond being close to work) Issa creates a reason to leave the room. While Issa shies away from verbally expressing what she really wants from Daniel, Molly is clear with her intentions with Dro but, do their results differ?

Back in California from a tropical vacation, Molly returns on some self-proclaimed, “know better, do better shit”, yet when it comes to Dro, the tables turn. Molly attempts to establish clear boundaries with Dro, who still in his “open marriage” and takes the top spot in her hoetation.

After a long night of steamy sex, Molly’s “bloop, blip, blap, blam” mindset seems to kick in. An offer to cook breakfast interrupted by a phone call from his wife Candace, Dro (who acknowledges Molly to his wife, seemingly confirming the open relationship) continues with his proposal of a pancake breakfast.

We need to decide whether we are friends who don’t have sex or acquaintances who just have sex. - Molly

The lightbulb in Molly’s head went off as the decision was made to continue to have sex and cease other interaction; she immediately put Dro out. While this power move in reclaiming her vagina monologue seems to have boosted Molly’s confidence, those words were not followed with action. Despite laying down rules of no texts, no calls, no dates, Molly doesn't hesitate to communicate with Dro. Her desire to exist as a carefree sexual being is drowned by a flood of sensitivity.

Issa and Molly navigate themselves on opposite sides of the same road accompanied by dim street lights and echoes of silence.  They both vocalize what they think they should want only to be haunted by their inner desires and it shows. Molly believes she has developed the fortitude to break the emotional ties of a “fuck-buddy" while Issa thinks pretending feelings do not exist will actually cause them to fade away.

The flawed existence of Issa and Molly do not excuse the trash demeanor of their male counterparts. Both men exploit the feelings Issa and Molly with shrewd behavior.

Daniel is taking the Future route, adding to his collection, parading his sex life in front of Issa instead of clarifying his sentiments. Getting the heads up from her roommate Daniel about his company, Issa decides to command a “Party Lyft” with Molly riding shotgun. Armed with Capri-Suns and a playlist featuring City Girls and Cardi B, the two meet some of Los Angeles’s most interesting characters.

Like most good parties all vibes come to an end often violently. While Issa and Molly text men they claim not to care about, a fight breaks out in the back of Issa’s sedan between her ride-share passengers. As the night passes, Issa finds her way back to Daniel’s couch where still confused by Issa’s unclear motives again challenges her to just be real.

You said you that you came because you wanted to be close to your job now you’re telling me that you got feelings n’shit so like what is it?...I’m confused.” - Daniel

”Both N*gga I don’t know - Issa

Although admitting she still has romantic feelings for Daniel, Issa again refuses to fully unpack her emotional baggage, relying on the strength of their former platonic friendship to carry them to peace.

Molly’s attempts of keeping their relationship to bedroom meetings only struggles to succeed when faced with Dro’s manipulative behavior.  Undeterred by new rules, Dro uses his own key to Molly’s place to let himself in, claiming she was not answering. A surprised Molly emerges from the bathroom, flirting with Dro, even kissing him, however a sign of hope prevails as she demands he return her key.  In a perfect world, the key would have been handed over, yet Dro reaches into his contriving card deck and flips over a jester. With Molly standing firm in her decision, he returns the key after advocating against it, even telling Molly he and his wife are not her business, and hesitantly leaves.

#TeamNathan

All of the characters need to not only decide what they want, but learn how to be honest with themselves and others. After week one, I’m not #TeamIssa, #TeamMolly or even #Team Lawrence.  My allegiance lies with Nathan (Kendrick Sampson). A transplant to Los Angeles with a southern accent, Nathan allows both Molly and Issa to change his destination, sparking a genuine sense of curiosity. Laughing about how the girls picked him up because he was fine, Nathan became the life of the “Party Lyft.” The next customer however had a different night planned.

Entering the car, he complained about the flavor of Capri-Sun offered by Issa and began to roll a blunt and proceed to smoke. When told by both Molly and Issa that the Party Lyft was a smoke-free occasion, the confrontational rider continued his anti behavior. Nathan decided to take the blunt and throw it out the window. This bold behavior lead to the aforementioned fight where Nathan left the guy in pretty bad shape. We later learn that Nathan tipped $50 for the Lyft ride. Hopefully his mysterious charm makes more appearances this season.

The five black Youtube series you need to binge watch

Black television shows are making a resurgence on mainstream television. Not only have shows like Black-Ish, Insecure and Atlanta have found success on broadcast and cable TV, streaming services like Netflix are gaining traction with like She's Gotta Have It & Luke Cage. But they're not the only ones producing quality content.

YouTube has a few series that have become staples of their online content. Before Insecure, Issa Rae got noticed with her YouTube series, Awkward Black Girl. Its success led to not only Insecure but the creation of Issa's own production company, which produces several new and upcoming YouTube series.

But Issa's not the only one making good black content on YouTube. Here's the five series that you need to binge watch right now.

Giants (Issa Rae Productions)

This is an ongoing tale of choosing to live the life that you want to live but also dealing with the consequences that come behind it. Chasing your dreams is the main theme of the show but it also deals with issues like manic depression, homosexuality and the after affects of police brutality. The main characters Malachi, Journee, & Ade are 30-somethingss experiencing life choices and decisions all while trying to make a better life for themselves.

Close Friends (2K Life TV)

This series is an oldie but a goodie. One of the very first series i started watching back in college. When you mix love, dating, friendship & drama into one big pot, you get Close Friends. It's a story of a group of male friends: Nathan, Raheem, & Kevin, & group of girl friends: Valerie, Tori, & Kira. Each character deals with the many ups & downs of dating, whether it’s through other people or amongst each other.

No Love Lost (2K Life TV)

Follow the story of Noah & Moriah as they go through a divorce. Noah is having a tough time dealing with simultaneously losing his wife AND his job, while Moriah quickly moves on to someone better. One night Noah comes back to the house while Moriah is entertaining her new man and drops the news that he’s needs to get back on his feet & extends his stay. The deeper you get into the series, the more you’ll feel the energy between the two start shifting. If you want to know what I'm talking about then just watch the series.

Barry Tales  (Kartoon Management)

This animated web series was created back in 2013 by Kartoon Management. This web series is the story of Barry Ponds and his life attending Bearhouse College. We follow him as he progresses through the college years from freshman year on up.

College Boyfriends

Another oldie but goodie web series that’s based out of the Atlanta University Center, the show was created by TINA SHAKIYAH and DONTE ROSE, both Clark Atlanta University Alumni. This story follow a group of five friends who experience love & relationship while struggling to maintain through each college semester.

Why Black representation matters

If you're into movies and television as much as I am, then man what a time to be alive! Successful black media is on the rise, all with traces of black excellence sprinkled throughout. In a time where the lack of opportunity for black creatives in Hollywood is a topic of conversation, we've seen a spike in quality black media over the past few years. But don't tweak, there's still much more room for needed improvement. Let's chat.

Imagine a world where Hollywood is dominated by the Jordan Peele's and Ryan Coogler's of the world, and the success of Donald Glover's and Issa Rae's are matched by Sterling K. Brown's & Tiffany Haddish's. In that short list, we get so many depictions of people of color shown within their works: we get a bunch of 20-something's still figuring out their love (and work) lives, a testament to modern-day slavery with the very real fear of what being black in America is like, and an African King who rules over the most technologically advanced city in the world.

These are very real and diverse characters that, to an extent, already exist in the real world. So why are we just now getting a glimpse of our very real potential?

Because Hollywood isn't big on risk-taking, and to them, we are a risk.

HBO

HBO

Representation matters in media. There are already black rulers, geniuses, geeks, professionals, you name it! But again, these are risks; as you can tell by the constant reboots, sequels and remakes, Hollywood isn't big on risk-taking. That's why it is so important for people like Jordan, Issa and Ava Duvernay to keep producing content that highlights the large-scale that is black existence.

Fact of the matter is, we are much more than hookers, thugs and slaves, and I'm tired of these being the go-to movies that the Oscars choose to recognize. Every now and then executives will gamble with these types of projects, and to their surprise they work, bringing in huge box office numbers or ratings. But just because a show has quality writing and acting, doesn't mean the studio will keep gambling on them (go check out Survivor's Remorse).

The future is watching. When I was a kid I watched all the classics. I grew up with Lizzie McGuire, Ren and Louis Stevens. I loved these characters...we all did. But their lives were quite different from ours. Sure, this was television, but this is all we had to look for ourselves in as kids.

When I came to the hard realization I was blackity-black-black as hell and I wouldn't REALLY be able to live in a 5-star hotel that my mom performed at, I turned elsewhere. I personally turned to X-Men - a group of outcasts that battled prejudice among humans. But children today need something to look up to. The young creatives of the future need to feel empowered in their black art and need to know that we are lit!